Ondo Speaker Bamidele, Others In EFCC Net Over Alleged Fraud

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Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oloyelogun, alongside another lawmaker and staff members of the Assembly have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged fraudulent practices.

Those arraigned alongside Oloyelogun are Mr Felemu Bankole and Mr Segun Bankole, who are the lawmaker, representing Akoko South-West Constituency 2 and a staff member of the Assembly respectively.

The arraignment followed the order of Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye of an Ondo High Court, sitting in Akure, in February, permitting the EFCC to prosecute the Speaker and other suspects over the alleged fraud.

The Court had dismissed the defendants’ preliminary objection filed to prevent them from being tried by the EFCC.

They had claimed the EFCC lacked the authority to prosecute them because the assets they were facing trial for belonged to the state.

But the Court held that the anti-graft commission did have the authority to investigate and prosecute the defendants for the alleged fraud.

The defendants were consequently arraigned in Court on a two-count charge of attempted fraud.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.

During the trial on Tuesday, the EFCC’s Counsel, Kingsley Kudus, asked the Court to remand the defendants in prison custody, claiming the defendants were still with the EFCC.

On his part, Counsel for the defendants, Femi Emodamori, prayed the Court to dismiss the EFCC’s request, noting that the defendants’ administrative bail application was still pending.

He also claimed the second defendant (the Speaker) was ill and required immediate medical attention.

Emodamori also urged the Court to caution the nominal complainant (former Deputy Speaker Iroju Ogundeji) in the case for allegedly sending messages to the Speaker in an attempt to annoy him, threatening legal action if Ogundeji did not stop.

He described Ogundeji’s behaviour towards his client as illegal.

In his ruling, Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye asked the defendants to remain on administrative bail until the next hearing, and adjourned the case until May 18, 2023, for the commencement of trial.

Culled: The Punch

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